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类型:奇幻地区:pdfĶ发布:2020-10-20 14:22:17

《》剧情介绍

Earl Grey had lived to witness the triumphant realisation of all the great objects for which throughout his public life he had contended, sometimes almost without hope. Catholic Emancipation had been yielded by his opponents as a tardy concession to the imperative demand of the nation. In the debates on that question in the House of Lords, Lord Grey was said to have excelled all others, and even himself. The long dormant question of Parliamentary Reform was quickened into life by the electric shock of the French Revolution of 1830, when the Duke of Wellington, with equal honesty and rashness, affirmed that the existing system of representation enjoyed the full and entire confidence of the country. This declaration raised a storm before which he was compelled to retire, in order to make way for a statesman with keener eye and firmer hand, to hold the helm and steer the vessel in that perilous crisis of the nation's destiny. Throughout the whole of that trying time Earl Grey's wisdom, his steadfastness, the moral greatness of his character, and the responsibility of his position, made him the centre of universal interest, and won for him the respect and admiration of all parties in the nation. Baffled again and again in the struggle for Reform, undismayed by the most formidable opposition, not deterred or disheartened by repeated repulses, he renewed his attacks on the citadel of monopoly and corruption, till at last his efforts were crowned with victory. And well did he use the great power for good which the Reform Parliament put into his hands. The emancipation of the slaves, the reform of the Irish Church, and the abolition of the gigantic abuses of the Poor Law system, were among the legislative achievements which he effected. His foreign policy, in the able hands of Lord Palmerston, was in harmony with his own domestic policybold, just, moderate, true to the cause of freedom abroad, while vigilantly guarding the national honour of his own country. By his vigorous diplomacy he had saved Belgium from being overwhelmed by the Dutch, and at the same time kept her independent of France. A capable Sovereign had been provided for her in Leopold of Saxe-Coburg, the widowed husband of Charlotte of England. Finally, when the Dutch declined to give way to the remonstrances of the Western Powers, a joint Anglo-French expedition was dispatched, which compelled the citadel of Antwerp to capitulate on December 23rd, 1832. Nevertheless, such was the obstinacy of the Dutch that the question remained unsettled on the fall of the Grey Ministry. Lord Palmerston's foreign policy was equally noteworthy in other quarters of the globe. If he could do little for the revolution in Poland, he could at least preserve constitutionalism in the Peninsula, where it was threatened by Dom Miguel in Portugal, and, after the death of Ferdinand in 1833, by Don Carlos in Spain. On the 22nd of April, 1834, Palmerston, in concert with Talleyrand, now French Minister in London, drew up the Quadruple Treaty, by which the two Powers undertook to deliver the Peninsula from the Absolutist pretenders. Its effect for the time being was remarkable; they both fled from the country, and constitutionalism was restored.

C'est le sort le plus beau, le plus digne d'envie!"The next day all seemed quiet; but at evening, the men having got their Saturday's wages and their usual beer, there were some disturbances in Moorfields, and the mob abused some of the Catholics there. The next day, Sunday, the 4th, fresh crowds assembled in the same quarter, and attacked the houses and chapels of the Catholics, and this continued for the next three days. Troops were sent to quell them; but, having orders not to fire, the mob cared nothing for them. Some of the rioters took their way to Wapping and East Smithfield to destroy the Catholic chapels in that neighbourhood; and others burst into and plundered the shops and houses of Messrs. Rainsforth and Maberly, tradesmen, who had been bold enough to give evidence against the rioters taken on Friday. Another detachment took their way to Leicester Fields to ransack the house of Sir George Savile, the author of the Bill for the relaxation of the penal code against the Catholics. This they stripped and set fire to, and some of the pictures and furniture, as well as some of the effects taken from the Catholic chapels and houses in Moor fields, were paraded before the house of Lord George Gordon, in Welbeck Street, in triumph. The mob had now acquired a more desperate character. The fanatic members of the Protestant Association had retired in consternation from the work of destruction, seeing fresh elements introduced into itelements not of simple religious frenzy, but of plunder and revolutionary fury. They had begun the disturbance, and the thieves, pickpockets, burglars, and all the vilest and most demoniacal tribes of the metropolis had most heartily taken it up.On the motion for taking this Bill into further consideration, on the 8th of April, Mr. Hussey presented various petitions from merchants regarding the measure, and moved that the Bill required recommittal. He was seconded by Fox, who now, though approving of the main principles of the Bill, took occasion to contend for the development of the advanced doctrines of political liberty inculcated by the French revolutionists, and to urge the insertion of clauses in the Bill, in accordance with them. When the day for the debate on the Bill arrived, Fox called on Burke, though he had not done so for some time, and, in the presence of a common friend, entered into explanations which appeared satisfactory. Fox then proposed that the answer of Burke should not take place on the discussion of the Quebec Bill, though this was the Bill on which this topic had been introduced. Burke refused to comply; but the two old friends walked to the House together, displaying the last show of friendship which was to take place between them. Accordingly, on the 6th of May, when the chairman of the Committee put the question, that the Quebec Bill be read paragraph by paragraph, Burke rose, and determined to have a fair hearing on the question of the French Revolution, and proceeded to inveigh strongly against it. Then there were loud cries of "Order!" and "Question!" and Mr. Baker declared that the argument of Mr. Burke was calculated to involve the House in unnecessary altercation, and perhaps with the Government of another nation. Fox said his right honourable friend could scarcely be said to be out of order, for it seemed to be a day of privilege, when any gentleman might stand up and take any topic, and abuse any Government, whether it had reference to the point in question or not; that not a word had been said of the French Revolution, yet he had risen and abused it. He might just as well have abused that of China or Hindostan. This taunt came with ill grace from Fox, who had himself introduced this extraneous topic into the debates on this very Bill, and seized that occasion to attack Burke's opinions in his absence.

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A combination of circumstances invested the accession on the 20th of June, of the Princess Victoria, with peculiar interest. She was the third female Sovereign called to occupy the throne since the Reformation; and like those of Elizabeth and Anne, her reign has served to mark an era in British history. The novelty of a female Sovereign, especially one so young, had a charm for all classes in society. The superior gifts and the amiable disposition of the Princess, the care with which she had been educated by her mother, and all that had been known of her private life and her favourite pursuits, prepared the nation to hail her accession with sincere acclamations. There was something which could not fail to excite the imagination and touch the heart, in seeing one who in a private station would be regarded as a mere girl, just old enough to come out into society, called upon to assume the sceptre of the greatest empire in the world, and to sit upon one of the oldest thrones, receiving the willing homage of statesmen and warriors who had been historic characters for half a century. We are not surprised, therefore, to read that the mingled majesty and grace with which she assumed her high functions excited universal admiration, and "drew tears from many eyes which had not been wet for half a lifetime;" and that warriors trembled with emotion, who had never known fear in the presence of the enemy. When the ceremony of taking the oath of allegiance had been gone through, her Majesty addressed the Privy Council:"The severe and afflicting loss which the nation has sustained by the death of his Majesty, my beloved uncle, has devolved upon me the duty of administering the government of this empire. This awful responsibility is imposed upon me so suddenly, and at so early a period of my life, that I should feel myself utterly oppressed by the burden, were I not sustained by the hope that Divine Providence, which has called me to this work, will give me strength for the performance of it; and that I shall find in the purity of my intentions, and in my zeal for the public welfare, that support and those resources which usually belong to a more mature age and to long experience. I place my firm reliance upon the wisdom of Parliament, and upon the loyalty and affection of my people."Ministers were in haste to close and dissolve Parliament in order to call a new one before the very probable demise of the kingfor though they had provided that in case of the decease of the queen the Parliament should not reassemble, this did not apply to the decease of the king; and should this take place before the day fixed for the assembling of the new Parliament, the old Parliamenteven though formally dissolvedwould reassemble: therefore, on the 10th of Junethe very day after the passing of the supplementary Alien Billthe Prince Regent came down to the House of Lords, prorogued Parliament, and then immediately the Lord Chancellor pronounced it dissolved. The members of the Commons were taken by surprise. No such sudden dismissal had taken place since 1625, when Charles I. dismissed his Oxford Parliament after a single week's session. On the return to their own House the Speaker was proceeding, as usual, to read the Royal Speech, but he was reminded by Mr. Tierney that there was no Parliament in existence, and by Lord Castlereagh that, by so doing, he might render himself liable to a Pr?munire, and he therefore desisted and the members withdrew.

On the 1st of June according to the arrangements of General Gage, as the clock struck twelve, all the public offices were closed, and the whole official business was transferred to Salem. But the wide discontent of the people met him there as much as at Boston. When the Assembly met, which was in the following week, such was its spirit that General Gage felt that he must dissolve it. General Gage, seeing the lowering aspect of affairs, took the precaution to throw more troops into the neighbourhood, so that he had some six regiments, with a train of artillery, when he encamped on the common near Boston. Active emissaries were immediately sent amongst these troops, who, by presents of ardent spirits and fine promises, seduced a considerable number from their duty. To prevent this, he stationed a strong guard at Boston Neck, a narrow isthmus connecting the town with the common and open country. On this a vehement cry was raised, that he was going to cut off all communication with the country, blockade the town, and reduce it to submission by famine. The inhabitants of the county of Worcester sent a deputation to inquire Gage's intentions, and they did not omit to hint that, if necessary, they would drive in the guard with arms; for, in fact, besides the arms which most Americans then had, others had been supplied to such as were too poor to purchase them. Gordon, their historian, tells us that the people were preparing to defend their rights by the sword; that they were supplying themselves from Boston with guns, knapsacks, etc. According to the Militia Law, most men were well furnished with muskets and powder, and were now busily employed in exercising themselves; thus all was bustle, casting of balls, and making ready for a struggle. Gage, seeing all this, removed the gunpowder and the military stores from Charlestown, Cambridge, and other localities, to his own quarters. This, again, excited a deep rage in the people, who threatened to attack his troops. To prevent this, he went on briskly with his defences on the Neck; but what he did by day the mob endeavoured to undo by night. They set fire to his supplies of straw; they sank the boats that were bringing bricks, and overturned his waggons conveying timber. Nothing but the greatest patience and forbearance prevented an instant collision.Lord Fitzgerald, a pension and peerage.Sir R. Musgrove, made receiver of customs, with 1,200 a year.

CHAPTER XV. REIGN OF GEORGE III. (continued).But the most discouraging feature of this war was the incurable pride of the Spaniards, which no reverses, and no example of the successes of their allies could abate sufficiently to show them that, unless they would condescend to be taught discipline, as the Portuguese had done, they must still suffer ignominy and annihilation. Blake, who had been so thoroughly routed on every occasion, was not content, like the British and Portuguese, to go into quarters, and prepare, by good drilling, for a more auspicious campaign. On the contrary, he led his rabble of an army away to the eastern borders of Spain, encountered Suchet in the open field on the 25th of October, was desperately beaten, and then took refuge in Valencia, where he was closely invested, and compelled to surrender in the early part of January next year, with eighteen thousand men, twenty-three officers, and nearly four hundred guns. Such, for the time, was the end of the generalship of this wrong-headed man. Suchet had, before his encounter with Blake, been making a most successful campaign in the difficult country of Catalonia, which had foiled so many French generals. He had captured one fortress after another, and in June he had taken Tarragona, after a siege of three months, and gave it up to the lust and plunder of his soldiery.

But it was not till 1766 that the public became possessed of what may be called the first domestic novel, in the "Vicar of Wakefield" of Oliver Goldsmith (b. 1728; d. 1774). The works of Richardson, Fielding, and Smollett had been rather novels of general life than of the home life of England, but this work was a narrative of such every-day kind as might occur in any little nook in the country. It was a picture of those chequered scenes that the lowliest existence presents: the simple, pious pastor, in the midst of his family, easily imposed on and led into difficulties; the heartless rake, bringing disgrace and sorrow where all had been sunshine before; the struggles and the triumphs of worth, which had no wealth or high rank to emblazon it; and all mingled and quickened by a humour so genial and unstudied that it worked on the heart like the charms of nature herself. No work ever so deeply influenced the literary mind of England. The productions which it has originated are legion, and yet it stands sui generis amongst them all. The question may seem to lack sequence, yet we may ask whether there would have been a "Pickwick" if there had not been a "Vicar of Wakefield?"From the Painting by Robert HillingfordWhilst Dumouriez had thus overrun the Netherlands, other French generals had been equally pushing on aggressions. Custine, with about twenty thousand men, had marched upon the German towns on the Rhine; had taken Spires, Worms, and Mayence by the 21st of October. These towns abounded with Democrats, who had imbibed the grand doctrine of the Rights of Man, and laboured, to their cost, under the same delusion as the Belgiansthat the French were coming solely for their liberation and advantage. Custine advanced to Frankfort-on-the-Main, which he plundered without mercy. Custine called loudly for co-operation from Kellermann; but Kellermann not complying, he was superseded by Beurnonville, who was ordered to take Trves. He attempted it, but too late in the season, and failed. Custine, who had advanced too far from the main army to support his position, still, however, garrisoned Frankfort with two thousand men, and took up his own quarters at Ober-Ursel and Homburg, a little below Frankfort, in the commencement of December.

CHAPTER V. THE REIGN OF GEORGE IV.

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Great exertions had been made to draw Prussia into the confederation that was forming, and on the 25th of May, 1804, a defensive alliance had been concluded between Prussia and Russia. But the King of Prussia was, at the same time, listening to the offers of Buonaparte, who was encouraging him to expect the annexation of Hanover, and also further territory at the cost of Austria. In these circumstances, Prussia kept a dubious position, but continued to strengthen her armies for an emergency, holding herself ready to close with the best offer. Austria herself was afraid of another war with Buonaparte, and strongly urged that negotiations should be opened with him before proceeding to extremities. However, she too concluded a treaty with Russia in November. It was Pitt's object to draw these threads together. Fortunately the Czar sent his Minister, Nowosiltzoff, to England in 1805, and he readily fell in with Pitt's ideas. Accordingly, on the 11th of April the Treaty of St. Petersburg was signed on the basis of the maintenance of the Treaties of Lunville and Amiens. The great coalition was thus practically complete, when news arrived that Buonaparte had annexed Genoa to France. This was a most gross violation of the Treaty of Lunville. But the annexation of Genoa was but a small part of the aggressions of Buonaparte on Italy. On the very same journey he made himself King of Italy. On Sunday, the 26th of May, he was crowned in the cathedral of Milan. The Archbishop of Milan performed the ceremony, blessing the old iron crown of the ancient kings of Lombardy, and Buonaparte putting it himself on his head, as he had done that of France. Nor did Napoleon stop here. He wanted a little snug principality for his sister Eliza and her husband, the Corsican Bacciochi, and he turned the Republic of Lucca into such an one, and conferred it upon them.At length the fated 1st of March arrived, when the Paymaster of the Forces arose amidst profound silence, to state the Bill. Lord John Russell's speech was remarkable for research, accuracy, and knowledge of constitutional law, but not for oratory. He showed that the grievances of which the people complained, in connection with the Parliamentary representation, were threefirst, the nomination of members by individuals; secondly, elections by close corporations; and thirdly, the enormous expenses of elections. Sixty nomination boroughs, not having a population of 2,000 each, were to be totally disfranchised; 46 boroughs, having a population of not more than 4,000, and returning two members each, would be deprived of one. The seats thus obtained were to be given to large towns and populous counties. In boroughs, the elective franchise was to be extended to householders paying 10 rent; in counties, to copyholders of 10 a year, and leaseholders of 50. Persons already in possession of the right of voting were not to be deprived of it, if actually resident. Non-resident electors were to be disfranchised, and the duration of elections was to be shortened by increasing the facilities for taking the poll. No compensation was to be given to the proprietors of the disfranchised boroughs, which was justified under the precedent of the forty-shilling freeholders of Ireland, who had received no compensation for the loss of their votes. The question of the duration of Parliaments was reserved for future consideration.

The condition of the Irish poor, and the expediency of a State provision for their support, had long been a subject of anxious consideration with the Imperial Government and the legislature, and also with public men of every party who took an interest in the state of the country. It was at length resolved that something should be done for their regular relief. At the close of 1835 there had been a Poor Law Commission in existence for more than two years, consisting of men specially selected on account of their fitness for the task, and standing high in public estimation, including the Protestant and Roman Catholic Archbishops of Dublin. They were appointed, in September, 1833, "to inquire into the condition of the poorer classes in Ireland, and into the various institutions at present established by law for their relief, and also whether any and what further remedial measures appear to be requisite to ameliorate the condition of the Irish poor or any portion of them." In July, 1835, they made their first report, in which they refer to the various theories with which they were assailed in the course of their inquiries. "One party attributed all the poverty and wretchedness of the country to an asserted extreme use of ardent spirits, and proposed a system for repressing illicit distillation, for preventing smuggling, and for substituting beer and coffee. Another party found the cause in the combinations among workmen, and proposed rigorous laws against trades unions. Others, again, were equally confident that the reclamation of the bogs and waste lands was the only practical remedy. A fourth party declared the nature of the existing connection between landlord and tenant to be the root of all the evil. Pawn-broking, redundant population, absence of capital, peculiar religious tenets and religious differences, political excitement, want of education, the maladministration of justice, the state of prison discipline, want of manufactures and of inland navigation, with a variety of other circumstances, were each supported by their various advocates with earnestness and ability, as being either alone, or conjointly with some other, the primary cause of all the evils of society; and loan-funds, emigration, the repression of political excitement, the introduction of manufactures, and the extension of inland navigation, were accordingly proposed each as the principal means by which the improvement of the country could be promoted."Matthew Prior had a high reputation in his day as a poet, but his poetry has little to recommend it now. He was the more popular as a poet, no doubt, because he was much employed as a diplomatist in Queen Anne's reign by the Tory party. His "City and Country Mouse," written in conjunction with Lord Halifax, in ridicule of Dryden's "Hind and Panther," may be considered as one of his happiest efforts.

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